JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, more than 30,000 children were abused or neglected in Michigan in 2016.
Jackson native Thomas Burke can relate to that number.
He was a victim of child abuse at the age of seven, and the memory still haunts him today.
"I didn't think about telling my mother or other members of my family," Burke said. " I really didn't understand what was going on other than I was being hurt."
Burke tells me in order to prevent child abuse, awareness is key.
He is one of many people who helped plant a pinwheel garden at Jackson's Blair Park Monday. The event was organized by the Council of Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect to show commitment to fighting the problem.
"We want people to know that there are resources if they should know someone or should suspect someone or anyone that needs help to prevent and protect our children," says Mayor Bill Jors.
The Council of Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (CPCAN) says the pinwheel symbolizes the carefree lifestyle that all children should receive.
"And has become the national symbol," said Wendy Gonzalez, Director at the Council of Prevention for Child Abuse and Neglect.
Gonzalez says there are many signs of child neglect to look out for :
- nervousness in a child
- change in behavior
- loss of desire to do things
-do poorly in school
-suffer a loss of trust and self-esteem
- start using alcohol or other drugs .
"We want children to experience life ... without the stress or worry," says Zoe Lyons, Director for the Jackson County Department of Health and Human Services.